Pioneers ready for season debut |

Pioneers ready for season debut

Chris Jung handles the puck during the Park City Pioneers 3-2 victory over Weber State on Sept. 7 at the Park City Ice Arena. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record

Fans, friends and furry pets are all welcome at the Park City Ice Arena on Saturday night, when the Park City Pioneers will kick off their regular season home schedule with a game against the Salt Lake Golden Eagles.

Proceeds from the game, with the opening face off scheduled for 7:15 p.m., will benefit Furburbia, a Friends of Animals Utah adoption center located in Park City.

"It should be a cool weekend here," Pioneers captain David Imonti said. "Fans are encouraged to bring their dogs. It should be something fun for everyone."

In addition to donating proceeds from the game to Furburbia, the Pioneers are helping another local organization raise funds as well.

"The Park City Ice Miners under-16 team will be selling concessions to raise money for a trip to Minnesota they’ll be taking this season," Imonti said.

Entering their first season as a nonprofit organization, the Pioneers plan to send ticket sale money to as many different causes as they can this season.

"We’re trying to team up with a lot of local groups to see if we can help," Imonti said.

Other groups in line to benefit from the Pioneers include the National Ability Center, Echoes of Hope and Park City Freestyle.

But, though this year has a charitable focus, it would be a mistake to think the Pioneers won’t be focused on winning a second-straight Mountain West Hockey League title. After two hard-fought exhibition victories against the Weber State University Wildcats in early September, Imonti said practices have been going well the past couple months.

"We’ve had good turnout," he said. "We’ve added a couple guys, deleted a couple guys and are working to fine tune things."

After starting last year with a 1-7 record, Imonti said the Pioneers, who will benefit from having coach Dave Decker on the bench for the entire season, are focused on starting the 2013-14 campaign with a bang.

"We’re looking to improve on last year’s start, which was awful," he said. "It seems like forever since we had our preseason games. It’s taken a long time to get to this point, but everyone is ready to go."

The Pioneers will play in Salt Lake City on Friday night before taking on the Golden Eagles (formerly the Rebels) in Park City on Saturday night. Imonti said the players are ready to continue their hot streak against Salt Lake.

"We’ll play hard, play our game and play physical but disciplined," he said. "We won’t get too fancy against a team we’ve had a good history against."

Tickets to Saturday night’s game can be purchased at the door. The cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids and students and $2 for youth hockey players. Those bringing their dogs to the game will receive one free ticket.

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